Whether we’re helping our clients to lose weight, create a healthier lifestyle, peak for a particular event, create a winning team or just enjoy being active, what we’re REALLY doing as sports and fitness coaches is helping people to change their behaviours, but if we don’t know what drives those behaviours in the first place, how can we hope to succeed?
Whatever sport or aspect of fitness you’re coaching, to whatever age group or level of ability, understanding the following 3 secrets will change everything for you:
Spectacular Secret #1: Pain & Anxiety Are Your Keys to Success
Many sports and fitness coaches actually believe that pain and anxiety are separate things that only have a minor impact on each other. But believing this is a HUGE mistake because they aren’t just interconnected, like in a Venn diagram, they are actually two sides of the same coin!
And BOTH are such powerful factors in changing behaviour that they can disrupt everything.
You might be thinking that pain and anxiety are beyond your scope as a coach, and you’d be right. Dealing with each of these problems is not your job – and nor should it be – but understanding that they are the underlying forces that drive your participants’ motivation, mindset, compliance to your training (including rest and recovery), and much more, helps you get results much faster.
Spectacular Secret #2: It’s Not This Moment That Counts
What your participants believe about their capabilities and what they fear will determine whether or not they follow your guidance and sometimes these can be created months, years or even decades before – without your participants even being aware of them.
In the same way that someone who has experienced trauma in their lives (I’m including grief, financial worries, relationship problems etc here too) can use a support “crutch” like food or alcohol or even intense exercise as a coping strategy, someone who has experienced pain can do the same.
These past life experiences might even include both pain and trauma (being thrown off a horse, being in a car accident etc) and they might have happened so long ago that your participants have forgotten that they even happened, but like renowned traumatic stress expert Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk says, “the body keeps the score”.
This is important to you as a sports or fitness coach because this often-subconscious fear of recreating pain in movement or constant self-sabotage of your participants’ own results directly impacts your ability to help them get the results they want – and of course, if they aren’t even aware of it, they can’t tell you why they’re doing it!
Spectacular Secret #3: Multiple Birds, 1 Stone
The great thing about behaviour is that it’s really easy to see – and you don’t need to be any kind of therapist or counsellor to be able to do it.
You’ll actually be seeing or hearing it every time your participants say: “I can’t do that because I have a bad [insert joint here]”, or “I haven’t had time this week” – but more than that, you can actually observe it too.
You can see it in their fidgety actions, like playing with a ring or bouncing their knee up and down. You can see it in their reactions to something or someone, like moving away from them or flying into a rage for no apparent reason.
These are clear signs of either physical or emotional discomfort and are actually the early warning signs of potential sporting injuries too.
But as a sports or fitness coach, you don’t need to know exactly how these issues started. You don’t need to dig into someone’s personal life history to find the root cause. You don’t need to concern yourself with what WAS, you only need to recognise what IS.
You already know the benefits of exercise on mental health, so you know that the physical can change the emotional, but when you also recognise EXACTLY how the emotional can impact the physical, you’ll be able to get results for ALL your participants that other coaches can only dream of!
By the way, if you want to learn exactly what behaviours, postures and body language to look for… and what you can do about it, check out my “Insider’s Knee Pain Secrets” online training here